Dondi Dahlin is an award-winning speaker and teacher, internationally acclaimed dancer, and member of the Screen Actors Guild. With her mother, Donna Eden, she coauthored The Little Book of Energy Medicine. Her latest book is The Five Elements. Dahlin teaches the five elements at the OMEGA Institute in New York and at Eden Energy Medicine workshops around the world. Visit her website here.
The Chinese Five Elements of Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, and Metal are personality types with specific traits, idiosyncrasies, behaviors, attitudes, and characteristics. According to Chinese philosophers and physicians, every person is characterized by at least one of these elements. Sometimes two people have the same primary element but look, sound, and act very different than one another. This is nowhere more apparent than the two United States main party presidential nominees for 2017.
Hillary Rodham Clinton and Donald Trump are both strong in the Wood element, yet they have very different personalities. This is because Trump is strong in only one element. No other elements come close to the strength of his primary element of Wood. On the other hand, Hillary is strong in Wood, Metal, and Earth. When a person has two or three strong elements, they will naturally have more adaptability and flexibility, and maintain more of an even keel when faced with stress. A person who draws their strength from only one element will be more extreme in their opinions, views, words, and actions.
Let’s take a look at the Wood element through the lens of Clinton and Trump.
The Wood element is a personality type that is big, bold, and often brash. When a Wood person walks into a room, everyone senses it. No matter what the situation is, the unspoken message from a Wood is, “I am here, this is happening, and it’s happening now.” Woods usually do things first and with urgency. Woods make a strong impression, even if that is not their intention.
As you might imagine, it is much tougher to be a Wood woman than a Wood man because people expect a man to be strong, tenacious, immodest, and bossy. A woman with these traits is judged harshly by most societies.
Trump broadcasts his positions proudly. This is typical for a Wood, to be front and center about their beliefs. Woods tend to see things in black and white, good or bad, right or wrong. There is no vagueness when dealing with issues and they will rarely change their mind once they have made it. Trump claims that he stands for straight talk, patriotism, and will take a stand against political correctness. This is typical Wood. They value straight talk over tact and will be assertive, even aggressive, with their truth. If they cannot be number one, they aren’t interested in playing the game. They want to be the best.
Clinton says she is “afflicted with the responsibility gene.” This is quintessential Wood element. Wood types feel a responsibility to their work and they often are accused of being workaholics. She also says that she is “going to win on her own terms instead of having a fake or friendly attitude toward the media.” Wood types are not good at doing things to get others to like them. They are ‘take me as I am’ types. What tempers Hillary’s sharp attitude is her softer Earth element, which plays out when working with women and children. Her daughter often talks about this to the media. She also has some Metal element and this can be seen by her consistent advocacy for human rights. Metal types often take the high road of charity and giving of their assistance to human beings who are in the most need.
Every element has their challenges if not balanced. There is not one elemental type that doesn’t have tough times when under stress and their most positive traits can swing to the other end of the pendulum and become their downfall. For instance, Trump’s supreme confidence too often turns into arrogance. Hillary’s “put the pedal to the metal” work ethic is enviable until she becomes so focused on the task at hand that she doesn’t let her authentic and more vulnerable side shine (though this is probably a constant tightrope that she walks as a woman who could easily be deemed “too sensitive” by the press). Every element can swing from one side of the pendulum to the other. But if they have other strong elements besides their primary element, they will fare much better in life.
As with every element, the strengths for a Wood are also their weaknesses. Most of their admirable behaviors, as well as their unfortunate behaviors, stem from the ego – more than any other element. What can be a healthy ego with some Woods turns egotistical with others. When not balanced, Woods can be arrogant, rude, and judgmental while also lacking in compassion, altruism, and the desire to help others, which are the primal drives of an Earth type. This is one reason it is so helpful for Wood types to also have strong Earth. A Wood/Earth combination is one of the most beautiful combinations there is because it pairs fierce strength and bravery with soft compassion and understanding.
Whether a person is pro-Donald or pro-Hillary, if they are familiar with the Five Elements, they understand that being able to resource more than one element will give a person more relationship skills and more of an ability to maintain a healthy, balanced life.